10th July 2021: Sound Pictures Conference

Pre-watch materials online     10th June 2021   

Live keynote + Q&A 10th July 2021

The British Society of Aesthetics is delighted to sponsor Sound Pictures                 

(c) Cornelius Cardew (1936 – 1981)

The British Society of Aesthetics is delighted to sponsor Sound Pictures, a conference bringing together theorists, researchers, and postgraduates from within philosophy to explore the topic of multi-sensory appreciation of the arts.

Sound Pictures

King’s College London

10th July 2021 (on Zoom)

The Theme

Imagine a sculpture made to be heard, or a picture that can be played on a banjo. Although many artworks are multi-sensory in the sense that they invite appreciation by sight, sound, movement and even touch (e.g film and immersive theatre) it might seem odd to say a simple drawing is genuinely multisensory. We don’t expect a drawing to look like the taste of strawberries, just as we don’t expect warm vanilla to taste like triangles.   

This expectation carries over to appreciation. It is natural to think that when your friend remarks on a painting  they will say something about how it looks, rather than how it sounds. But, given that multi-sensory appreciation is held to be ‘the rule and not the exception in perception’ (Shimojo and Shams, 2001) do we ever appreciate a work with a single sensory mode? Does adequate appreciation of (apparently) single sensory artworks (for example, a painting) require input from the other senses? 

Confirmed Speakers

Mitchell Green (UCONN)

Derek Matravers (OU)

Jenny Judge (NYU)

Natalie Bowling (Goldsmiths)

Jason Leddington (Bucknell)

Colette Olive (KCL)

About cross-sensory artforms and graphic notations

Several art-forms speak to the question of multisensory confusion, integration and enhancement. For instance, the concept of music is fundamental to Kandinsky’s work. He believed one should ‘see’ his paintings aurally. Likewise, Goethe declared that architecture was “frozen music”. An example pertinent to philosophical reflection is that of graphic notation, where a piece of music is ‘directly depicted’ rather than written down in conventional musical notation. Visual works of art to be appreciated musically were brought to public attention by Earle Brown and John Cage. The experimental movement reached a peak with Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise (1963-1967).

Important Dates

Registration for Conference 1 June 2021

Pre-watch materials online     10 June 2021   

Live keynote + Q&A 10th July 2021                                                             

Organising Committee

Vanessa Brassey

Jørgen Dyrstad

Giulia Corti


For any and all enquiries, please contact the organisers through philosophyandvisualarts@gmail.com